Over the years I’ve come to know some of the engineers at PSE, including founder and chairman Pete Shepley, himself a bow designer. The company probably employs more engineers than any other single bow company, a fact that’s not surprising considering that PSE is the single largest bow company.
Something I’d not considered was how a company chooses a name for each of its new models. A few years back, as I am told, Pete issued a mandate to the engineers, telling them not to bring him another new bow design unless they already had a name for it. The name game surely wasn’t a problem when it came to the latest model PSE sent me for testing. Dubbed the Primos STL, the new bow was designed by PSE with help from veteran call maker and archer Will Primos and his staff. By the way, STL stands for “Speak the Language,” a Primos slogan.
The Primos STL certainly stands out in the PSE lineup for many reasons, least of which is its name and customlike design. I’ve shot a lot of PSE models over the years, and I’ve got to say simply, and right up front, that the bowmaker got it all right with the new Primos bow. It’s not often that design, look and feel all come together in a compound bow in just the right way, but it happened here. I’m totally impressed and I recommend this bow to anyone in the market for a new model. It has all the features that make a bow easy and accurate to shoot. A custom grip, a relatively long brace height, a hard back wall and an only slightly deflexed riser.
At First Glance
Riser cutouts aren’t anything new in compounds; they’re standard fare for reducing weight while maintaining strength. PSE dropped a cool cutout in the Primos STL when it laid a deer track just above the rest area of this new bow. Nice touch, and one your friends will notice immediately when you show up with this model. But this riser’s not just for looks. Extensive engineering makes this design function at a higher level, delivering strength and flexibility where they’re needed most and allowing the bow to come in at under four pounds.
Like the Nitro, one of PSE’s hottest bows in recent years, the Primos STL bears the highly recognizable NV System vibration dampeners, protruding from the forward base of each limb.
Form And Function
Being familiar with the raves the PSE Nitro has received over the past year and a half, and having handled that popular bow myself, I asked PSE’s capable special projects manager, Mark Wenberg, to compare the two bows for me.
“We asked the Primos guys, ‘What do you like in a hunting bow?’ They wanted one that shot easy, aimed well and had a smooth-drawing cam. This Centerfire One Cam is brand-new, and I think you’ll see how smooth the draw is when you pull it back.
“The bow is a bit less reflexed than the Nitro, and the riser is a bit longer, by two inches, and we changed the limb angle, which raised the brace height. Overall, the bow is 13⁄8 inches longer than the Nitro. It is built with the same limb pockets and the same grip.” Those limb pockets are the Trimline Pivoting Pockets, based on a limb isolation system that uses four separate pieces of rubber in each pocket to capture the limb on both the sides and the bottom. That isolation, along with the NV System dampeners, reduces limb shock that might otherwise reach the handle. By making the limb angle steeper, the bowmaker further reduced initial shock and noise, something a number of bow companies have not moved toward in the search for the ultimately tamed bow.
Wenberg also pointed out a number of other features that make the Primos STL stand out in function. The Cam-Lock cable guard is a PSE design that allows adjustment to the desired amount of vane clearance while locking securely once in place. Finally, PSE put a coating over the finish of the bow that makes the camo resistant to chemicals and scratches. So, even after a few years of tough hunting, your bow will be looking like new.
The bow shot quick and quiet, but what really impressed me was the rock-solid back wall. I shot the bow at 70 pounds, about 10 pounds more than I’ve been shooting with most of my bows, but even with the added weight, the bow remained tame at the shot. I’m still toying with the grip and plan to try all three versions of the Phase III to find out which shoots best for me, but I can tell you plainly, I like this bow.